Could Online Betting Exec's Arrest Help Speed Through Anti-Gambling Laws?

from the how-convenient dept

When BetOnSports' CEO, David Carruthers, was arrested earlier this week, we noted that he had been fairly outspoken the week before about how the House's decision to pass an anti-online gambling bill was nothing to worry about, since the Senate was unlikely to do anything on it. However, it seems that his own arrest may be helping to turn the tide. Senator Frist (last seen insisting on an audio flag) is now pushing to get the Senate's version approved. In fact, it sounds like all the attention from Carruthers' arrest has only made this an issue the Senate is more interested in working on. All in all, this seems like more election season posturing, as politicians try to find "hot button" issues to promote. This exec's own arrest may have catapulted online gambling into the "hot button" realm.
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  1. identicon
    Grant Woodward, 21 Jul 2006 @ 7:55am

    Turning the tide? Not so much.

    "...However, it seems that his own arrest may be helping to turn the tide. Senator Frist (last seen insisting on an audio flag) is now pushing to get the Senate's version approved...."

    If only Bill Frist had that much initiative and independence. Frist (R-TN) was selected for the post of Senate Majority Leader back when the Bush White House was able to use Congress as a somewhat noisy rubber stamp for its policies; and while the Bush Administration has lost a great deal of its political clout, Frist remains one of its most devoted Senatorial mouthpieces. Frist is pushing the online gambling issue because the White House and the RNC are pushing it, not because he's being pulled along by events. It's no coincidence that the US Attorney General is cracking down on online gambling right now -- it's purely a political stunt.

    Alberto Gonzales is cracking down on online gambling for the same reason Bush used his first veto ever this week: It's an election year, and off-cycle elections (i.e. elections that don't include a Presidential ballot) are often decided on turnout more than issues, and the conservative base has always been strongly against gambling*. Between the Iraq war, corruption scandals that fall mostly on Republican shoulders, and a mediocre economy that's expected to slow down right as the election approaches, the party in power is being forced to look around for hot-button social issues to get otherwise reluctant parts of its base to the polls. This is only one of many we'll see, and that it's a tech issue is pure happenstance.

    It's also worth noting that Sen. Frist is widely expected to run for President in 2008. Bills like this are as much about being able to say "I introduced a bill to crack down on illegal online gambling that hurts children and destroys families" as anything else.

    *This includes government-run lotteries, despite what's been mentioned on TechDirt previously. The prevalence of government-sponsored lotteries is a peculiar conflux of fiscal conservatives trying to find some way other than official taxes to fund government budgets they can't cut, and liberals trying to find some way to fund education and other programs in an era of major tax cuts. They are, however, stridently opposed by most social conservatives, for all the usual reasons.

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